Agoura High Graduation: Looking Back and Moving Forward

Five people reminisce on the meaning of graduation and being Chargers.

Graduation season always brings about bittersweet sentiments, not just for the graduates but for their friends and families as well.

A Tale of Two Moms

For , this Friday’s commencement ceremonies at will be extra memorable, because her youngest child Marcus will be among the graduates.

“I have mixed feelings, because I’ve come to know a lot of people at the school,” said Friedlander, the co-chair of the Parent Faculty Club (PFC) at the high school. “As volunteers, we’ve been accepted into a partnership, and I felt very much appreciated the entire time.”

Marcus, 18, is heading to California State University-Northridge (CSUN) and will be majoring in cinema and television arts. His mom will keep her ties to the community by being the first president of , the newly incorporated fundraising arm of the school district.

Another volunteer parent who intends to keep her ties to the school is , who has worked with Friedlander on various school projects and fundraising campaigns.

Fridstein is also mom to Allie, 18, another member of the class of 2011. “High school was an interesting time in my daughter’s life, so it was almost the same for me, as I was privy to all her experiences,” said Fridstein.

Since her younger child will be a high school junior this fall, Fridstein will still be very much around, pitching in whenever she can. “My daughter found a good spot at the school, so I’m curious to see how different or the same it will be for my son,” she said.

Allie will be attending Ohio State University and to major in psychology. The teen received a merit scholarship from OSU and is looking forward to either law or medical school after college, said Fridstein.

Chargers Through and Through

For Marni Thornsley, high school graduation is like déjà vu. Both Thornsley and her sister attended . Now, it’s her son Tyler’s turn. “There’s definitely a lot of Charger pride in our family,” said Thornsley, whose parents were teachers at the high school.

Thornsley’s parents are still involved at the school, supervising student teachers from Pepperdine University and CSUN. “I guess it was both good and not-so-good for Tyler, following in big footsteps like his grandparents’ and maybe bumping into them every now and then,” said Thornsley.

Susie Stetson, a bosom buddy of Thornsley from their elementary school days, is also proud of her Charger “lineage.” Both she and her sister graduated from the high school. Her older daughter Jordan is in Tyler’s class. Younger daughter Devan is a freshman.

Stetson briefly moved away for a few months, but is happy to be back. “It’s good to be home and feel so safe and secure here in Agoura,” said the former cheerleader. “I like to show my daughters around and point out certain buildings where Marni and I used to hang out.”

Jordan Stetson will attend Loyola Marymount University this fall and wants to be a dermatologist. Tyler Thornsley will be Moorpark College and eventually wants to move to Hawaii for further studies and to be a competitive surfer.

Outstanding Class

Future doctors and athletes aside, Principal Larry Misel readily acknowledges the many achievements of the class of 2011. “It’s an outstanding class and they have accomplished a lot,” said Misel, who has been principal for 13 years.

According to Misel, this class of 495 seniors raised $67,000 for the . The first group of 16 graduates will be receiving their universally recognized diplomas this Friday, he said. Old records were broken and new records were also set in various sports, including track and field, he said.

So on Friday, during the principal’s address, Misel will be talking about “everyday heroes.”

“I know they’d rather hear one or two of their classmates speak, so I will keep it short and sweet,” he said.

During their freshman year, Misel remembers something he said to this class. “We want this to be the best four years of your life so far,” he said. “I’d like to think I was right.”



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